World of Warcraft, as described by Bellular, is a game “that runs on everything but runs well on nothing“. One of the biggest problems World of Warcraft has faced was the fact that it never took advantage of multi-core processors. You could have a dual, quad, eight (or more) core processor and the game would pump everything through one single, solitary core. All of that looks to change with Patch 8.1 as they are currently testing a build of the game that takes advantage of multiple processing cores!
What would this mean for players? It means that you can see a significant reduction in FPS loss in certain situations. How many times have you went to do a world boss and upon being phased onto another realm, couldn’t see spells and particle effects for a good fifteen to twenty seconds later? Or, how about that same scenario and going from 60 fps all the way down to 15 fps or even lower? For years, Blizzard has blamed the end user’s hardware but with this latest patch, they are finally admitting that the problem has been on their end (well duh!).
The biggest evidence came during their previous expansion, Legion. Starting in Patch 7.1, Blizzard tried to introduce new tech which pre-loaded zones from cache after your initial login for the day. If you powered your PC down for the night and booted World of Warcraft the next day, you were stuck fighting, what players came to dub, the loading screen boss. You could sit there, with a high-end PC, for nearly ten minutes waiting for Legion’s version of Dalaran to load. Log out and back in after a full load and Dalaran loaded in seconds. While it was annoying, part of the problem was that as the game got more resource intensive, Blizzard had to come up with solutions that would have been solved had they just supported multi-core CPUs when they became fashionable over a decade ago.
I referenced Bellular at the beginning of this story. He put together a fantastic video explaining what kind of benefits await you should this change go live.
Do keep in mind that this is being tested on World of Warcraft’s public test realm. The PTR is Blizzard’s personal playground in order to publically test features that will give them better data than if they tested them internally. This does not mean multi-core support is going live with Patch 8.1. As of this writing, there has been no official announcement from Blizzard about multi-core support. This could just be Blizzard testing the technology alongside Patch 8.1’s development.
Still, the fact that they are actively testing and working on this clearly shows that it will, one day, become a reality.